Not really. "Hähnchen" is the diminuitive form of "Hahn", which translates to "rooster," i.e. the male chicken. The diminuitve form in this case is equivalent to "young," i.e. "Hähnchen" is a young rooster. "Huhn" is the female variant; it translates to "hen." You can say all of these: "Der Junge isst Hähnchen." "Der Junge isst Hahn." "Der Junge isst Huhn." "Der Junge isst Hühnchen." Though, "der Junge isst Hahn" would probably be the least one used of the four variants in everyday language.
All the above examples translate to "the boy eats chicken" as in "in general." When you prepend each of the four variant nouns with an indefinite article, like so: "Der Junge isst ein Hähnchen." "Der Junge isst einen Hahn." "Der Junge isst ein Huhn." "Der Junge isst ein Hühnchen." it expresses that the boy eats a chicken at this very minute.
So, the versions without the article (in the first paragraph above) all could be translated to "the boy eats chicken" (in general). The versions with the article indicate that the boy is eating the actual animal this very minute.
Hähnchen is indeed hard to say. I made the mistake once of going into a Burger King in Bavaria and requesting "eine Hündchenburger bitte". To my surprise the girl replied back in a strong 'Geordie' accent "Do you want chips wi' yer puppy-burger or what?" (She was from Newcastle UK) (My foremost mistake was of course going into BK!)
The closest (and easiest) for an English speaker would be to pronounce it based on the word "mansion" but replacing "ma-" with "hey-", making it "heynsion"; or saying the word "ancient", but addind an "h" at the beginning and omitting the "t" at the end, to form "hancien". That'll get you pretty close :)
If we're talking about the meat, we don't use an article: "chicken" is a mass noun like "meat" or "water." For instance, we would not say "The boy is drinking a water."
If we're talking about the animal, it's a countable noun, so we do use the article: "The boy is petting a chicken."
Not sure exactly what your question is.
"The boy is (a) chicken" or "The boy is a coward" (to make it clearer) translates to "Der Junge ist ein Angsthase." Note, that this is quite a colloquial word, probably as colloquial as "chicken" is meaning "coward".
"Der Junge ist Hähnchen." does not mean "The boy is (a) coward." It literally means that the boy is a chicken (the bird, not the coward), so saying that sentence doesn't make any sense in German. (Unless perhaps we'd be quoting from a fairy-tale, where a boy had actually been turned into a chicken).
Other than that, you cannot distinguish between "Der Junge ist Hähnchen" and "der Junge isst Hähnchen." if you only hear both sentences spoken. There is absolutely no way to distinguish between "ist" and "isst" when spoken.
So, you have to rely on context or common sense. As I said before "der Junge ist Hähnchen" makes absolutely no sense and it is grammatically incorrect anyway, because it is missing an article.
I know it's not correct, but duolingo accepted it as correct. I tried it, because I wanted to know if duolingo thinks you should be able to hear the difference between 'isst' and 'ist'. If the sentence would be 'Der Junge isst ein Hänchen', but I would write down 'Der Junge ist ein Hänchen', I bet duolingo still would translate it as 'The boy eats a young rooster' instead of 'The boy is a young rooster'.
Only trouble is, it doesn't have the same x-rated meaning as it does in English. So, you're actually describing cannibals. And, the last sentence is not quite correct. It would have to be:
Die Frau isst den Jungen.
So, don't make the mistake of literally translating phrases from one language to another. The meaning is hardly ever the same.
"Jungen" is not plural in my sample sentence. It's accusative singular. Everything that you eat, i.e. that appears with the verb "essen" has to be in accusative.
Some nouns change their word ending between nominative and accusative. Junge is one of them. The declinations of Junge in singular are:
Der Junge - nominative.
Des Jungens - genitive.
Dem Jungen - dative.
Den Jungen - accusative.
So you meant to write what you did? Well whatever you meant, it's just sick.
Nope, pronunciation is identical.
Only thing is, if you wanted to say
ist, you'd need an article:
Der Junge ist ein Hähnchen.
So, it's pretty self-explanatory what is meant, if you only hear the sentence rather than read it.
Btw, this question was already answered on this page. So, it really helps to read all messages before you post your own.
So, hovering over the word "der" tells me it can be the, this or that. In my answers to date I have been varying the use so I won't forget it can mean more than just "the".
In this case, "That boy is eating chicken" is incorrect. Anybody know why? It's been accepted as an answer in a number of similar sentences before...